Anne von Freyburg and Nigel Grimmer – Skin Deep

Beauty and what defines it is the overriding theme in this two-hander at the James Freeman Gallery. Both Anne von Freyburg and Nigel Grimmer, in their different ways, investigate the way beauty is both constructed and distorted, and both use textiles to help make the point.

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Leila Alaoui – Rite of Passage

In 2016, celebrated French-Moroccan photographer Leila Alaoui was on assignment in Burkina Faso investigating women’s rights in the country on behalf of Amnesty International and UN Women. She had the misfortune to be sitting in a parked car outside the Cappuccino café in the capital Ouagadougou when the café was attacked by Al-Qaeda gunmen. She was seriously wounded and died three days later. She was 33.

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The Grand Tour – Claire Partington, Emily Allchurch, James B Webster, Matt Smith

In the 18th and 19th centuries, it became something of a rite of passage for upper class Europeans, mostly from Britain, to embark on the Grand Tour taking in cities such as Paris, Rome, Venice and Florence in order to learn about Classical and Renaissance art and architecture. They’d accumulate works and souvenirs as they did so. Four artists have given a contemporary spin on this phenomenon in Grand Tour at London’s James Freeman Galley.

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Kovet.Art – Delineating Dreams

One of the effects of this current pandemic is that many of us are wondering what changes the virus will have wrought upon our society after it goes away (if it ever does go away!). 

In a broader sense, this zeitgeist has been taken up by Kovet.Art, a new arts organisation designed to help collectors discover the best emerging talent in the UK and to harness and mentor that talent. Its inaugural online exhibition, Delineating Dreams, invites eight of its artists to delve into a dream world expressing visually both the conscious and the subconscious. It’s a surrealism-heavy show just as our current plight has many such characteristics. 

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Pierre Gonnord – Nature Tales

To look at they could almost be paintings – portraits made in the classical style of a Goya or a van Eyck. Indeed, French photographer Pierre Gonnord cites them as influences. “A portrait obliges you to have a kind of contemplation,” he says. His first solo exhibition in the UK, Nature Tales,  gives plenty to contemplate. Comprising seven diptychs, each human portrait is paired with that of an animal. 

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Homelands: Art from Bangladesh, India and Pakistan – Kettle’s Yard

Fierce nationalism and inter-religious tension in South Asia have been a constant feature of the region’s modern history, a legacy of Partition in 1947 and the struggle for independence for Bangladesh in 1971. Millions of people were displaced and millions were killed either directly or through famine. The resultant instability of concepts like home and nationality is explored  by 11 acclaimed artists in a new and stimulating exhibition at Cambridge’s Kettle’s Yard, curated by Dr Devika Singh, Curator of International Art at Tate Modern.

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